Two years ago, when I started my internship at Sybase, I saw posters all over the place with the words “One Sybase. One Team. One Billion.”. I pondered over this slogan for a long time actually, wondering what it meant… Finally, I was informed that Sybase was aiming to earn an annual revenue of $1 billion in 2007. Did we reach it? Of course we did.

Now, one year later…

Sybase CEO, John Chen reported that Sybase topped last year’s record earnings and finished with the best quarter and year in company history! Wow!

I’d like to say that I played a role in helping them achieve this accomplishment, but I’m just happy to be a part of it =D.

> CNET News: Sybase earnings sail past Street’s expectations
> WirelessWeek: Sybase Bests Itself
> Oakland Tribune: Sybase’s early bet on wireless paying off

1 099 511 627 776 bytes

January 25, 2009

Previously, I mentioned that I was thinking of getting an external backup drive and even contemplating the idea of setting up a RAID. In the end, I found a really awesome deal on a 1 TB Western Digital My Book external hard drive. Sorry, couldn’t pass it up. Anyway, just wanted to post an update. It’s set to arrive this Thursday!

P.S. 1 099 511 627 776 bytes = 1 048 576 megabytes = 1024 gigabytes = 1TB

Outdoor Hockey

January 24, 2009

Just two days ago, I made one of the most exciting discoveries of the season… I found out that we (the University of Waterloo) have an outdoor rink on campus! It’s beside REV, and in the summer it’s used as a basketball court. I do remember passing by several times and thinking to myself that it would make an awesome hockey rink. It already has boards on the two ends and is even shaped like a rink! I think they must’ve flooded it in the past as well. Anyway, I was super excited! It’s like having a rink in my backyard! Actually, when I was younger, I made two backyard rinks in two different houses. Each night, I would spend hours watering the rink, shoveling it and making sure that it was nice and smooth. Of course, I saved some time to skate around and shoot some pucks =D. I was crazy about hockey, and not to mention, had way too much time on my hands!

So, a couple of co-workers and I got together after work to play some shinny. It was quite warm that day, it went above 0°C, apparently this was the first time since December 29th. Because of this, the ice wasn’t the greatest, but hey, at least I got to play. The ice was rough and really soft, it totally ruined my skates. I even skated through this patch of pavement (Note to self: Get skates sharpened). But, in the end, we had fun and I hope to play again.

There’s something different about playing outdoors… Maybe it’s the crunch of the rough ice under your blades emanating from every stride and every turn, or the ability to see your breath as you take a moment to regain it. Whatever it is, the feeling is indescribable.

Backup Solutions

January 18, 2009

A couple days ago, my external hard drive exhibited the weirdest behaviour. Usually when I turn it on, I can hear the disk spinning and a little blue light flashes (looks random, but I guess it flashes when it is performing a read/write operation). However this time, after the fan started for 2-3 seconds, it started slowing down and eventually stopped! Then, that little blue light started flashing… consistently. Not good. I was really afraid that my drive had failed. I turned it off, waited a couple minutes and restarted it. Seemed like everything was working again. I copied a couple of files and then turned it off thinking that it had overheated. Every since then, I kept it off, scared to turn it back on. So, now I’m in the market for a new external hard drive or backup solution.

I’ve been considering two options: one massive 1TB external drive or a a RAID 1 setup with two 500GB drives. I know RAID 1 is basically mirroring and I could just get two drives and copy my data, but I’m interested in playing around with RAID enclosures. They’re going down in price and it would be cool to test one out. The particular one I’m looking at is made by Mediasonic (Canadian company) and costs less than $70. Pretty good deal, if you ask me. Now, I’m considering WD or Seagate drives. Lately, I read that Seagate has been having some problems with their 7200.11 drives… looks like I’m probably going to stick with WD.

Decision:…? RAID 1 with 2x500GBs.

I’m just getting settled here in my role as a Product Manager (PM) and things are going quite well. The job is very interesting and the people here are great! I really like the atmosphere and the wealth of knowledge in our closely knit team of PMs. Yesterday was the first bi-weekly team meeting of the year, and my first ever. This time is usually used to inform other members of the team of current projects and developments throughout the past two weeks. Just going around the table, I was amazed to see the broad spectrum of technologies our team is responsible for. It seems like every PM has their own product or feature that they manage and own. Although everyone was taking ownership of different aspects of a product, the whole team was discussing and offering ideas on how to better improve that part. I really enjoyed the banter going back and forth, and also the ideas being tossed around. It just shows how much a PM needs to know about the technology around them. It’s our job to keep up-to-date with the latest and greatest innovations, and even keeping an eye on our competitors. This is how we can get one step ahead. It’s about knowing what is out there and what isn’t out there, then finding out what customers want and filling that need. We’re pushing the boundary of technology in hopes of capturing a “new market”.

So far, second week of work has been great!

Windows 7 Photos

January 11, 2009

Windows 7 on a MacBook

January 11, 2009

The long awaited *official* release of the beta version of Windows 7 was quite a memorable one. The new OS was scheduled to be posted on Microsoft’s site on January 9th, 2009. Ironically, it began with a postponing of the release date. There were so many eager beta users constantly refreshing the download page that it caused Microsoft’s site to crash and they had to bring in reinforcement servers. What a way to begin… at least the downtime only lasted one day.

After getting things back up and running again, the Windows 7 (build  7000) iso file was available for download January 10th. The download was surprisingly very quick. It only took around 2hrs for a 2.43gb file. I was very impressed considering just less than 24 hrs ago, their servers were down. The install proved to be painless using Boot Camp. I popped in the Leopard Windows drivers, everything except the sound card installed without any problems. I had to manually install the sound card (SigmaTel drivers included in the package). Oh yeah, I was using a first generation (2006) MacBook.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the new deisgn of the OS. I went straight from XP to Windows 7, I skipped Windows Vista because of its slower performance. I think the look and feel of Windows 7 is similar to Vista. Of course, the biggest change is the new Taskbar, which actually isn’t new at all! Also, I’ve downloaded the Microsoft Live suite. As a first impression, I really like how Microsoft is integrating their Live suite into the OS, enhancing application functions by taking advantage of the OS. Good job Microsoft. Anyway,I will have to poke around some more, and maybe post some photos of this beautiful hybrid =P.

Windrow?

January 10, 2009

The city of Waterloo gets a lot of snow, even more than Toronto! The worst part is not shoveling your driveway, but if you’re like me, it’s clearing that pile of snow left by the plow at the end of your driveway. It’s not the light fluffy snow that settles right after a fresh snow fall. No, it’s the big, dirty, heavy chunks of snow compacted by cars driving over it. Did you know that there is an actual term used to describe this annoyance? It’s called a windrow. Now, you may be asking yourself, “What is a windrow?”. Fortunately, the city of Waterloo is kind enough to define it for us:

Q. What is a windrow and why is it in my driveway

A. Plows push most of the accumulated snow along the roadway. But some snow normally travels alongside the blade. As the plow moves past driveways, that snow falls to one side forming a windrow.

Although we all look forward to having the streets plowed, no one really looks forward to that pile of snow left at the end of the driveway. We understand your frustration with this situation. Once you’ve cleared your driveway, it can be annoying to see it obstructed with a pile of snow, or a windrow, left behind by the plow.

It is up to the homeowner to clear this snow left behind by the plow. If, however, a windrow of snow appears to be excessive, we will have a supervisor assess the volume and take some action if warranted. Remember though, that this would be an unusual situation.

We hope you will understand that during stormy weather conditions, our crews’ first priority is to clear the roadways and get the city moving safely again.

What makes matters even worse is if you live in a cul-de-sac or around an elbow curve. If you are one of those lucky home owners, you will be the recipient of an even larger amount snow waiting at the end of your driveway simply because of the placement of your house. Great, there goes my hope of being able to complain to the city…

Let’s get the ball rolling with a quick post.

As part of my co-op term at Sybase, I am given the opportunity to work with all kinds of different database formats. From my experience, it seems like every database has a specific market that it targets. That is to say, no single company has found the ability to conquer all the niche markets. With the ever-expanding range of applications that can use a database, it is almost impossible for a single database to meet every need.

The three biggest applications I can think of are desktop, mobile and online applications. Desktop applications are everywhere, I’ve seen them used for airline booking, POS systems, keeping track of medical records and even in your tax software. With the rampant increase in speed of wireless data transfer, the world is heading towards a wireless enterprise. You can have so much information readily available just in the palm of your hands. Finally, online applications is what drives the internet and behind it all is most likely a database. Where is this post that I’m writing going to be stored? How about the comment you’re going to write? What about that forum that you were just reading? The news? Your email? The internet is propelled by data. Thus, it relies on a safe, reliable and efficient way to store and retrieve it. Data is all around us, we thrive on it and is almost a necessity for our modern lives. This is why we work so hard to produce the best software we can =D.

And so it begins…

January 8, 2009

Hi there and welcome to the wonderful world of Jacob, or at least Jacob’s attempt at a blog. Let’s see how long this will last for… I hope to keep track of my adventures (not that they are all that exciting), life at university and anything else that may interest me. Let the fun begin!